Three successful actors are living their dreams in Hollywood, but in their off screen roles, they’re changing the world.
Todd Grinnell, Ryan Devlin and Ravi Patel founded the company This Bar Saves Lives (TBSL) in June 2013. For every TBSL bar sold, a life-saving packet of food is given to a child suffering from malnutrition. Since the company’s founding, TBSL has sent nearly 600,000 packets around the world to help saves the lives of an estimated 3800 children.
“We’re really proud of it,” Grinnell says of TBSL. “We started this as a mission first company. To create a thriving business is a huge bonus as well, but we’ll always be a mission first company.”
Grinnell and Devlin came up with the idea for the company after a humanitarian trip to Liberia in 2008. During the trip, they visited a refugee camp where they witnessed children dying without the nutrition they needed.
“It was devastating to see,” says Grinnell.
Prior to the trip, Grinnell saw a 60 Minutes segment about Plumpy’Nut, a nutrient-rich paste that was saving children in Niger who were on the brink of death from starvation. The refugee camp that Grinnell and Devlin visited in Liberia was using Plumpy’Nut, but there was only one box left.
Grinnell and Devlin went home determined to provide Plumpy’Nut to malnourished children. Along with Patel, they decided to start a company that would sell granola bars and donate Plumpy’Nut. It took several years of experimentation and working with a food scientist to get the bars they wanted.
“It was trial and error to get these really delicious bars,” says Grinnell.
TBSL bars are available in over 1000 retail locations and on the company’s website, www.thisbarsaveslives.com. Through their giving partners, TBSL distributes life-saving nutritional packets in countries like Haiti, The Philippines, Democratic Republic of Congo and Guatemala. In addition to Plumpy’Nut, TBSL donates Nutributter, a product developed for children under the age of two. Nutributter prevents the occurrence of stunting, a condition which affects a child’s growth and lifelong health.
Grinnell, Devlin and Patel balance their work at TBSL with acting careers. Grinnell has a recurring role in the Emmy-nominated Netflick series Grace and Frankie and is the head of operations and philanthropy at TBSL; Patel produced, directed and starred in the award-winning documentary, Meet the Patels. He’s also in Grandfathered on Fox, and handles TBSL investor relations, public relations and marketing; Devlin is the host of the MTV show Are You the One? and is the head of sales at TBSL.
As with any business, the team at TBSL faces challenges. “The consumer package goods world has a ton of obstacles,” says Grinnell. “Shipping ingredients, manufacturing issues, getting into different markets…and on the philanthropic side, it’s a big undertaking to send shipping containers across the world to areas that are in conflict or crisis.”
Grinnell, Devlin and Patel are undeterred by any hurdles they have to overcome. “We’re putting food in the hands of kids who otherwise wouldn’t get it and would pass away,” says Grinnell. “It’s pretty rewarding.”